Wednesday, June 18, 2008

TO BE A TOURIST OR NOT, THAT IS THE QUESTION



I love the places we have gone and the things we have seen. But I also like doing less and blending into the scene here in Haarlem. "Tis nobler to visit the places we "should" see or just relax"?




On Sunday we went to Amsterdam and saw both the Van Gogh Museum and the Annefrankhuis ( that's the way they spell it here ) and went on a canal boat ride. They were all fun and tiring for the adults. Mall crawl through museums, even one as neat as the Van Gogh is tiring on old feet. Avocet and Siena were totally ( did I say TOTALLY ) bored with it. We were not allowed to take any photos so you can't see any evidence of our visit.




The canal boat ride was better. However, it was passive just watching the mansions and houseboats on the sides of the canals. Si and Av were also a bit bored with this as well. Amsterdam is a beautiful city. Old, HUGE buildings, and a people with a vibrancy that is on par with the big cities of Chicage and New York. The people are more rushed than in Haarlem. We can only take public transportation so we have the analytical enjoyment of getting used to trying to figure out something of which you don't understand the language and don't know the format of the numbers. But, this is easy. Wait until we get to New Delhi or Bangkok. Compared to some future places, Amsterdam and the Netherlands are "trip-light".




What do you do when a case of boredom strikes the kids ( and is starting to hit us, too )? YOU EAT!!! We had french fries with mayonnaise. They have stands here which specialize in this treat. Messy but good. The french fries alone were better than ours and the mayonnaise tasted different, but good.





Anne Frank's House was "historic" from a terrible time in our history. Her diary is published in more languages than any other manuscript than the Bible. Even though the house was bare of furniture, you got a real sense of a "place of hiding". lisa was co-volunteer coordinator of the Anne Frank exhibit when it came to Cinti in the early nineties so this place means more than just a "museum".




On Monday, we chose to relax. I think our plan will be to have one "on" day and one "off" day. We caught up on e-mails and downloaded pics into Kodakgallery.com, our final safe resting spot for photos. This takes more time than you think. When you take the pic you think you are done but NOOOOOOOO! Transferring from the camera is easy but sending to Kodak is slow. We have figured out that this should be started before we go to bed and you wake up in the morning with saved data. You then have to edit the pics, which is taking more time than we thought. Wasn't this trip supposed to be relaxing and restorative to the spirit?




Speaking of restorative,I have had some time to just sit on the rooftop veranda. Very relaxing and with the beautiful temps ( a high of almost 70 degrees...jealous are you, fellow Americans????) it is easy to just "be". We are not yet trip shape yet so relaxation time and individual time will have to be figured out. I like just walking down to the market and trying to buy something without making a fool out of myself. To buy yogurt was not easy the first time as it could be yogurt or a creamy cheese. I'm also better at buying beer ( the first time I bought what we call "little seven ounce bottles" ). I find myself constantly converting to US $$$ vs. accepting the amount in euros. This too shall pass.




We went on a bike ride to a park and had a great time. If I haven't said it before, I think my best time so far has been from the seat of my thirty five year old bike. Just meandering around the streets is relaxing and makes you feel much less of a tourist and more of a resident. The girls have turned their bikes into "trick bikes" but I will let them describe that in their own blog posts. We sometimes just talk to people who come up to us and its neat to see how they think about things here vs. America. More about that later in a separate blog post.




Going to the butcher ( schlachter ) today. They sell horse meat here. The butcher says we have it all wrong, as the animal has had a good life, not like a chicken or pig, and finally he gets to arrive at someone's table. Someone else said they raise some horses for their meat. Do I or don't I?





3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love this! Thanks for your generous posting of text and photos! Gorgeous photos! Do you do this all at an internet cafe or can you wy-fy from your laptop?
lots of love, Ellen

Jeanne Eisenhut said...

Hi Guys: It's great to see how you're doing. Sounds like you're already blending in with the locals. Great to see your photos. Hope you're having a great time.

Jeanne

Twin bro in Omaha said...

Great descriptions of your day by day. Good blog on what it's like to be on vacation vs. living in the area. We had years in our overseas assignments so never really did your long-term sojourn. Praying that you guys continue to have a great time...